Occupational Health and Safety
Scarlet Alliance promoted the use of dams for oral sex, at the 15th International AIDS Conference, Bangkok, 2004
Scarlet Alliance supports the OH&S regulation of all commercial sex premises such as brothels, parlors and escort agencies. Sex workers must have access to appropriately equipped workplaces, personal protection equipment (PPE) such as condoms , lubricant and other safe sex materials, relevant training and resource materials and be empowered and supported to ensure autonomous decisions about the use of prophylactics and other safe sex initiatives.
Links to purchase bulk safe sex supplies
For workers in all industries, attention to occupational health and safety issues is about the protection of one’s health and future income. For people working in the sex industry OHS considerations are no different. Although there are many OHS issues confronting workers in the sex industry, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are an issue of key importance to sex workers. As a result, Australian sex workers and the sex industry have been successful in self regulating in relation to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). Resulting in studies indicating Australian sex workers contracting lower rates of STI’s than the general community despite some serious disincentives to maintain high standards of sexual health and safe commercial sexual practices.
This said there are examples of how Australian laws and policies can impede sex workers’ optimizing their occupational health and safety and maintaining such high standards. In particular, criminalisation of sex work and inappropriate government regulations and policy relating to the compulsory sexual health testing of sex workers threatens to undermine sex worker’s exemplary sexual health records. Sex workers have historically avoided compulsory medical treatment in environments of over-regulation and strict controls because of fears of a breach of their confidentially and further stigmatisation. Furthermore, the use by police of safe sex materials as evidence of involvement in sex work undermines hard fought and established safe commercial sex practices in the sex industry.
Mandatory or compulsory testing of sex workers for HIV and/or sexually transmissible infections in the Australian context Scarlet Alliance Briefing Paper, August 2007
Occupational health and safety, a sex worker initiative Metzenrath A summary of occupational health and safety issues for sex workers by Sue Metzenrath Australian sex worker rights activist .
Occupational health and safety for the sex industry Metzrenrath A report on sex worker organisations and Scarlet Alliance initiatives relating to Occupational health and safety of workers in Australia. This report was first published in the 1999 bulletin of Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW).
Drug and alcohol policy for the sex industry workplace Pinwell This Policy was written for WISE, the sex worker organisation that was operating in Canberra. It proposes in simple terms how to operate a safe workplace while incorporating the needs of drug users and non-drug users in the workplace.
Selling it in Safety Edlar Proceeding the production of a full scale OH&S Guideline by Scarlet Alliance, Edlar argues the relevance of OH&S to people who work in the sex industry. The legal status of workers is the most prevalent issue, overriding any attempt at implementing good practice as an individual worker or in a workplace.
Occupational health and safety in South Australia Gamble & Mawulisa for the South Australian Sex Industry Network and Sex Worker Action Group By looking at the South Australian sex industry, this article draws conclusions on the impact of the laws on OH&S practice. Scenario’s are used to highlight their argument.
Isolation Kenn Robinson. This article discusses the impact of isolation - a common for issue for private workers.
To test or not to test? Metzenrath for Scarlet Alliance Western laws have historically tried to control the health of sex workers, and Australian colonial times were nodifferent. This historical view of sex workers as vectors of diseasehas been reflected in Australian lawsover time and the belief that sex workers need special laws and regulations to monitor their sexual health are still evident today. The HIV/AIDS pandemic and its threat to public health in Australia revived this sentiment and laws that compel sex workers to undergo regular sexual health testing have been passed in several jurisdictions during the last 20 years. Compulsory sexual health testing not only reinforces this inaccurate and prejudiced view, but it is also highly discriminatory towards sex workers who have exemplary standards of sexual health in Australia. The author and Scarlet Alliance believes that compulsory sexual health testing should only be enforced if it applies to the entire sexually active population and to single sex workers out for differing treatment is both discriminatory and stigmatising, a waste of public health resources and not based on epidemiological evidence. .
A Guide to Best Practice Occupational Health and Safety in the Australian Sex Industry Scarlet Alliance Publication. Members of the OH&S Working Group were Sue Metzenrath, Sera Pinwell, Jenni Gamble, Maggie Moylan, Cheryl Mathews, Penelope Saunders, Gabby Skelsey, Felicity Lewis, Fiona Moran and Geoffrey Fysh. Compiled by David Edler, with thanks to Chris Ward and Tim Leach. This world first resource is set out as a manual, beginning with a glossary of terms and covers manyaspects of sex work from managing client appointments to storage and handling of waste. This is a great guide for all sex workers and sex industry business operators. It is practical, easy to read and both an educational tool for sex workers and business operators new to the sex industry whilst also being affirming of ‘best practice’ work practices to those people more experienced in the sex work industry. The role of Local & State governments in the enforcement of OH&S standards is explained and the responsibilities of management is covered in the context of general OH&S legal principles. The range of practical fact sheets such as Fact Sheet # 5 “Condom breakage & slippage guidelines” are invaluable to sex workers and designed to be stand alone resources that can be copied for broader distribution. This resource should be available in every sex industry business and every sex worker should have access to one. Researchers take note! Australian sex workers have developed a resource that highlights and affirms our capacity to look after ourselves. Sex Workers can and do implement best practice OHS and this document confirms this fact.
ACT Sexual Services Industry, Code of Practice, March 2005 Written by ACT Workcover. The purpose of this Code of Practice is to provide practical guidance to employers and/or operators, sex workers and other employees in the sexual services industry in the ACT in regards to meeting appropriate occupational health and safety standards.
NSW Health and Safety Guidelines for Brothels These guidelines came about as a result of collaboration between NSW Health and WorkCover NSW. The Guidelines were first developed in 1997 in response to the changes at that time, which resulted from the introduction of The Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995. The changes meant that brothels could now operate legally within certain parameters. The Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995 defines a brothel as “premises habitually used for the purposes of prostitution, or that have been used for that purpose and are likely to be used again for that purpose. Premises may constitute a brothel even though used by only one prostitute for the purposes of prostitution”. With this legal arrangement come a number of key responsibilities for those involved in the sexual services industry. The responsibilities addressed in the guidelines relate specifically to workplace health and safety and public health.
Updated 11 November 08
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